News Release

Austin at Pentagon: Good for Empire, Raytheon

Joe Biden has reportedly selected retired general Lloyd Austin III as his nominee to head the Pentagon. Michèle Flournoy had been the reported favorite for the position before her hawkishness and ties to weapons makers drew criticism.

MATTHEW HOH, matthew_hoh@riseup.net
Hoh wrote “Biden’s Moral Hazard” in November regarding the malfeasance inherent in Biden’s national security picks. He is a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy, a Marine Corps combat veteran of the Iraq War, and is a 100 percent disabled veteran. In 2009, he resigned his State Department position in Afghanistan in response to the escalation of that war.

He said today: “Other than a difference in identity, there is not a real difference between Austin and Flournoy. Perhaps Flournoy would have been more ideological and more keen on proving her ideas and concepts of war correct, ideas and concepts formed without ever knowing the reality of war. However, Austin’s 41 years of military service do not seem to have imparted on him the wisdom of the folly, destruction and immorality of war.

“Austin was integral in the disastrous wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen, as well as the escalation of the vicious, illegal and counter-productive drone wars. His greatest achievement seems to have been overseeing the U.S. retreat from Iraq. Like too many in Washington, D.C., Austin quickly exposed the phony charade of public service by trading in his decades of time in uniform for a high-paying directorship with Raytheon, a stake in a military industry investment firm, and the establishment of his own consultancy whose clients are undoubtedly weapons companies.

“Biden’s pick of Austin is symptomatic of an American political system that values symbol over substance, utilizes rhetoric to cover corruption, and ignores the brutal truth of reality in favor of platitude and hagiography.

“Austin is a good pick for the American Empire, the weapons industry and the bloodthirsty foreign policy elite of the Democratic Party. Tens of millions of people in the Muslim world will continue to suffer cruelly through America’s unending wars, while U.S. taxpayers hemorrhage trillions of dollars to the war industry. Meanwhile, the true dangers to the American people: Covid, climate change, racial injustice, economic inequality, et al., continue to go unaddressed.”

MARIAMNE EVERETT, [in France], mariamne.everett@mycit.ie@EverettMariamne
Everett wrote the piece “Biden: A War Cabinet?” just before the election. She is an intern at the Institute for Public Accuracy and radio presenter with World Radio Paris where she hosts the podcast “Hidden Paris.” She noted today about Austin:

* “He has been on the board of directors of the arms company Raytheon since 2016, a company from which Saudia Arabia purchased bombs to drop on Yemeni civilians.
* “He played a major role in the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

* “Lloyd Austin was significantly involved in the Syrian rebel program.”

Kenneth P. Vogel of the New York Times tweeted: “BIDEN’s reported pick for Defense Secretary, retired Army General LLOYD J. AUSTIN III, is a member of a private equity fund [Pine Island] that invests in defense contractors, & boasts its members’ ‘access, network & expertise’ are an advantage in government contracting.”

See from Glenn Greenwald; “Biden’s Choice For Pentagon Chief Further Erodes a Key U.S. Norm: Civilian Control.”